The Truth About Surviving in Outer Space

By Deane Barker on November 27, 2006

Outer Space Exposure: It turns out that if you get kicked out of a spaceship without any protection, you won’t explode. Oh, you’ll still die, but not in the fantastic manner portrayed in the movies.

Though an unprotected human would not long survive in the clutches of outer space, it is remarkable that survival times can be measured in minutes rather than seconds, and that one could endure such an inhospitable environment for almost two minutes without suffering any irreversible damage. The human body is indeed a resilient machine.

So this — like the thing on explosive decompression — debunks at least one James Bond film (though that guy was in a vacuum chamber, not outer space). There’s maybe another one — a guy got kicked into outer space, but I don’t remember if he exploded or not.

(And so long as we’re talking about James Bond, I’ll take this completely contrived opportunity to say that Casino Royale is an absolute masterpiece. I almost wept.)

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  1. Whoaa , hold on a minute , you would indeed die an immediate and horrible death. The boiling point of water at 1 atmoshpere is 100 Degrees C, The boiling point of water (or your blood) in a vacuum (space)is much lower than your blood temperature, so in other words you would instantly boil to death. FACT die with it!

  2. Rob above is wrong. His sensational belief does not take into account that the blood is contained within a body.
    From NASA: “You do not explode and your blood does not boil because of the containing effect of your skin and circulatory system. You do not instantly freeze because, although the space environment is typically very cold, heat does not transfer away from a body quickly. Loss of consciousness occurs only after the body has depleted the supply of oxygen in the blood. If your skin is exposed to direct sunlight without any protection from its intense ultraviolet radiation, you can get a very bad sunburn.” NASA has done tests on animals.

  3. I’m gonna have to see some references there, unnamed commenter. “NASA says” doesn’t cut it in the science world.

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